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Microsoft reintroduces virtual human 'Milo' for TED

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 15 Jul 2010 2:29 User comments (8)

Microsoft reintroduces virtual human 'Milo' for TED After being shown to an audience at E3 2009, the virtual character "Milo", who can be interacted with using Microsoft's Kinect, was not seen again until now. At the TED Global conference in Oxford, Microsoft showed off the virtual boy and how he reacts to a person's emotions, body movements and voice.
"I want to introduce a new revolution in storytelling," games designer Peter Molyneux told the audience. He declared that films, television and books were rubbish to him because they do not involve the audience, adding that he wanted to make a character that seemed alive, and that would "look me in the eyes and feel real."

An assistance conducted a demo showing Milo exploring a garden. "We're changing the mind of Milo constantly," he said. "No two people's Milos can be the same - you are actually sculpting a human being. Some of the things you are doing will change the course of his life."

He said Milo was built using artificial intelligence technology developed by his firm, as well as technology "hidden away in the dusty vaults of Microsoft." Milo exploits psychological techniques to make a person feel that he is real. "Most of it is just a trick - but it is a trick that actually works," Molyneux said.



During the demonstration, the assistant egged Milo on to squash a snail in the garden. Molyneux explained that commands like these are interpreted using voice-recognition software and a database that attempts to interpret player's intonation and meaning in real-time.

After a while, Milo begins to recognize the player. "I can promise you that if you are sitting in front of this screen, that is a truly wonderful moment," Molyneux said. He said that right now the technology is still in development with no plans for Microsoft to release it.

He did hint however that the game is intended to be used by millions of people and could become a commercial product one day. "His mind is based in the cloud," he told the audience. "As millions of people use it, Milo will get smarter."

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8 user comments

115.7.2010 2:40

"I want to introduce a new revolution in storytelling," games designer Peter Molyneux told the audience. He declared that films, television and books were rubbish to him because they do not involve the audience, adding that he wanted to make a character that seemed alive, and that would "look me in the eyes and feel real."

Hmmm...sounds like someone needs to tell this guy about a new invention...we call them video games...also tell him that one of the other things that his firm developed is the XboX360...something designed for nothing but playing games and watching HD-DVDs that you can't get anymore.

"An assistance conducted a demo showing Milo exploring a garden."

[sarcasm]Wow...sounds like a whole lotta fun.[/sarcasm] Unless he found magic mushrooms out there and went on an Alice-in-Wonderland style trip (that I can play), I don't care what he did in the garden!

""His mind is based in the cloud," he told the audience. "As millions of people use it, Milo will get smarter.""

I think everyone involved in this project should have to watch, "The Terminator"...it might make them realize how incredibly stupid an idea this is if it really works.

215.7.2010 2:46

Personally this sounds pretty cool. It would be very interesting to see how well this works though.

315.7.2010 4:33

Originally posted by KillerBug:
"I think everyone involved in this project should have to watch, "The Terminator"...it might make them realize how incredibly stupid an idea this is if it really works.
Ha, its a microsoft product its not going to get dangerious to humans until it goes at least SP3.

I agree with xnmalletx it does sound pretty cool, but like you said killer, who wants to spend $$$ on some stupid game where its a kid in a garden or get a virtual raft down the river by leaning, DUUUMMMB GAME ALERT. Funny i saw a BBC person play the kinect raft game and did better when he gave up and started to talk to the camera, so its a really accurate control system then ??

Going back to the kid in the garden... do you think microsoft is going after a new market... the pedo gamer maybe ??

415.7.2010 5:03

Originally posted by plazma247:
Going back to the kid in the garden... do you think microsoft is going after a new market... the pedo gamer maybe ??
There are a lot of priests in the country...I am sure they would love watching a boy bend over...but not one who is wearing clothing.

I'll have to go watch the BBC review; I need a laugh after finding out that; even after all the horrible problems and lies; the iPhone4 is still sold out!

[Edit]
I found a couple videos over at BBC, but not the one you describe. I found one where he is river rafting, then he is doing a running game that does not sync properly. I also saw another one where they were testing move, and you could see the reviewer on screen...clearly the move camera caught his movements, yet it ignored them for several seconds before jumping to where he was...

I love my DS3!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jul 2010 @ 5:21

515.7.2010 5:29

Totally missing the point guys. This isn't a working game just yet. ;-) It's a DEMONSTRATION and its gone over very well, went over very well at E3 too. The whole point is to try to develop characters with more emotion that respond to players in more realistic ways, which can only benefit the entire games industry as a project. Pretty much every revolution in gaming starts this way. If this was done by Sony, I think the response would have been different.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Jul 2010 @ 5:33

615.7.2010 18:35

Just like Kinect I think this stuff is likely to succeed but possibly (probably?) not amongst the self-styled 'hardcore gamers' or maybe even beyond the gaming side of things entirely.

I'd love facial recognition, voice command and gesture control for my a/v kit (and the Israeli company behind this tech is selling rights as fast as they can all over the a/v world right now).
I don't really care if it takes a couple of years (or maybe the true next gen) for the bugs to be worked out.

Fanboy gamers can bash away if they must but I suspect this tech is going to be everywhere in the next 5yrs - 10yrs

716.7.2010 0:17

I guess it would be nice if the NPCs on the Xbox720 and the PS4 responded in more realistic ways. The only issue is that one Milo is never going to do it...if I am playing a game like GTA6, I am in a city of millions of people, most of whom will see me on the TV news. They all have different lives, and they are all different people. If they can have all these different people responding like real residents, and if all these people can be talked to, robed, bribed, slowly tortured to death with a tooth pick, whatever...that would me a nice feature...but I don't see that happening any time soon.

But am I really alone in fearing this technology? There is no such thing as good tech or bad tech (it is how you use it)...but there are bad corporations, such as the one developing it, and their competitors in the gaming and PC markets. Let me put it this way...if they can make a computer program that simulates a person, then anyone who does their job completely through the phone and the computer will become a waste to be removed...causing mass poverty, and dramatic paycuts for those who still have their jobs...as now there are people lined up for miles to do the job for minimum wage.

819.7.2010 10:06

Originally posted by plazma247:
Originally posted by KillerBug:
"I think everyone involved in this project should have to watch, "The Terminator"...it might make them realize how incredibly stupid an idea this is if it really works.
Ha, its a microsoft product its not going to get dangerious to humans until it goes at least SP3.

I agree with xnmalletx it does sound pretty cool, but like you said killer, who wants to spend $$$ on some stupid game where its a kid in a garden or get a virtual raft down the river by leaning, DUUUMMMB GAME ALERT. Funny i saw a BBC person play the kinect raft game and did better when he gave up and started to talk to the camera, so its a really accurate control system then ??

Going back to the kid in the garden... do you think microsoft is going after a new market... the pedo gamer maybe ??
I think Killer Bug meant "iRobot"? the computer gets super smart and locks people in their houses via the robots. It could be possible to take over PC's with this software if it is interlinked with windows based products in the near future?? perhaps Bill Gates is that virtual kid with a global domination plan in mind? LOL :o)

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